Bank of America Balance Assist loan review: Small loan amounts for existing Bank of America customers

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In a Nutshell

The Bank of America Balance Assist loan may be a good option for people looking for quick access to small amounts of cash. But in order to qualify, you must be an existing Bank of America customer with a checking account. If you get a loan, you must repay it within three months.
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Pros Cons

Small loan amounts ($100 to $500)

Must be an existing Bank of America customer

Quick access to funds

Limited to one loan at a time

Can help build credit history

Must repay the loan within 90 days

What you need to know about a Bank of America Balance Assist personal loan

If you’re in the market for a small personal loan, you might want to consider the short-term Balance Assist loan from Bank of America. Bank of America is a nationwide bank that offers a variety of financial products, including banking, lending and small-business services. The bank introduced the Balance Assist loan in late 2020, allowing existing Bank of America customers to borrow between $100 and $500, in $100 increments.

Can help you build credit

Bank of America reports your loan payments to all three major credit bureaus, so making your payments on time can help you boost your credit. According to the bank, you may be able to qualify for the loan with limited credit. So even if you’re starting your credit from scratch, making timely payments on a Bank of America Loan Assist personal loan could help you build credit.

Available only to current Bank of America clients

The Balance Assist loan is available only to current Bank of America customers that have checking accounts in good standing. To qualify, your checking account must have been open for at least a year, and you need to have been making regular monthly deposits. Note that if you only have a Bank of America SafeBalance account, you won’t be to get a Balance Assist loan.

Loans must be repaid over a 90-day period

Whether you borrow a $100 or $500 with the Balance Assist Loan, Bank of America requires you to pay the loan back in three equal monthly installments. Plus, there’s a flat fee of $5 to take out the loan. So you’ll want to budget your expenses each month and know what to expect for monthly payments before you take out a loan.

A closer look at a Bank of America Balance Assist personal loan

  • No interest, minimal finance charges — Bank of America charges a $5 fee to take out the loan, but there are no additional fees to worry about.
  • Quick access to funds — Once you’re approved for a loan, you could get access to the funds within just a few minutes.
  • Credit check required — The bank runs a hard credit check when you apply, which could temporarily lower your credit scores. Bank of America says you may qualify even with a limited credit history — and in that case, it’ll consider your banking relationship.
  • One-loan limit — You can take out one Balance Assist loan at a time. You can apply for a new loan 30 days after your current loan is paid off.
  • Overdraft protection is turned off — When you take out a Balance Assist loan, Bank of America will turn off the overdraft protection feature in the checking account you have connected to the loan. So if there’s not enough money in your account to cover a payment, the transaction will be declined.

Who is a Bank of America loan good for?

A Bank of America Balance Assist loan may be a good option for current Bank of America customers who are looking for an affordable short-term loan to borrow a small amount of cash. The Balance Assist loan can help customers who need cash to cover a short-term financial emergency. The APR is much more affordable than what you’d receive with a typical payday loan.

But once you take out a Balance Assist loan, Bank of America will turn off your overdraft settings until the loan is repaid. If you think you might overdraw your account during the payment period, the Balance Assist loan may not be the best option for you.

How to apply for a Bank of America Balance Assist loan

You can apply for a Balance Assist loan on Bank of America’s website or mobile app. Bank of America promises an easy application process, though it doesn’t disclose the type of information or documents it requires to apply. But keep in mind that you can’t apply unless you meet the following requirements:

  • You have a qualified Bank of America checking account that’s been open at least a year
  • All of your checking and savings accounts are in good standing
  • You don’t have an existing Balance Assist loan, and haven’t had one in the last 30 days

Once you’re approved, the bank will deposit the loan funds directly into your checking account.

Not sure if Bank of America is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

  • U.S. Bank: With the U.S. Bank Simple Loan, customers can take out a loan between $100 and $1,000. This could be a good option for customers who need a slightly higher loan amount than what Bank of America offers.
  • MoneyLion: MoneyLion doesn’t check the credit of its loan applicants, and if you get a loan it can help you build credit — but in order to qualify you have to be a MoneyLion member.

About the author: Jamie Johnson is a Kansas City-based freelance writer who specializes in finance and business. She covers a variety of personal finance topics, including building credit, credit cards, personal loans and student loans… Read more.